|The Fishin' Professor's Answer:
Thank you for your inquiry! Twenty years ago, I could still give
you an easy answer to your question. Today, it's a whole new ball
game. So, let's see if I can help you a little bit, and get you
started on that road to turning Pro!
A major word of advice to start off with! If you want to turn Pro,
and fish "full-time" as you put it: turning PRO is not
only a full time job; with absolutely NO promises of fame &
fortune; it can be an awfully expensive way to try to earn a living,
if you don't succeed immediately! SO;
If you're single; make sure that you have enough of your
own money, already in the bank, to support yourself (That includes:
food, lodging, clothing, vehicle, boat maintenance & gas, and
don't forget about tournament entry fees!); without any outside
help; for a period of at least 18 months; AND, a job waiting off
season, IF you need it.
If you're married; make sure that your wife/children are
willing to do without the niceties that you've become accustomed
to living with; for at least 12 months. AND that you have enough
money in the bank to cover not only your own living expenses, but,
hers/theirs as well, for at least a year. Or, that your spouse is
willing to work to support the entire expenses of the household,
while you're on the road. Again, don't burn your job bridges, when
you make the transition!
Become an active member of the Professional Fishing Community, by
joining the related Professional Anglers' Association; PBAA, PWAA,
PCAA, or PSSA. Become a licensed guide, or charter captain. Join
a Professional or National Tournament Circuit, and, its' related
association. This alone will cost you $250 to $2,000 your first
Picking sponsors is the easy part. But, before you consider asking
XYZ Tackle Company, in Roanoke Maine, to spend their company's time
and money on advancing your dream ~ make sure that ~ first, you
are currently a user of their product; and second, are thoroughly
familiar with the other products or services that they offer.
THEN ~ you can personally contact the advertising or PR departments
of: lure manufacturers, hook manufacturers, rod makers, line manufacturers,
reel manufacturers, boat manufacturers, clothing manufacturers,
and, especially when you're starting out ~ consider your local businesses
(car dealerships, boat dealerships, etc.); businesses that you are
familiar with, and might be or are, very familiar with you, and
your tournament fishing record. ASK them exactly what their company
requirements are, for sponsorship at your level of tournament involvement.
The easiest way in the world to get "blackballed" by the
entire community of major fishing related manufacturers; is TO LIE
TO ANY ONE OF THEM about anything at all during your initial inquiry,
or on their application form. Most manufacturers in the fishing
community advise other participating members, of both, accepted,
AND rejected sponsorships, each month through AFTMA . So, make very
sure that everything you tell them, is totally verifiable by a third
party, not related to you. Make sure you also keep a list of tournament
directors, and former sponsors, that you can use as references on
your application. (names, addresses, phone/fax numbers) Remember
too, incomplete sponsorship applications, usually, never go any
further than the closest circular file.
The rest of the daily routine is totally up to you! Researching
the tournament site waters, pre-fishing, and traveling; they all
take their toll not only on your body, but on your mind as well!
So remember to eat well, keep in shape, and enjoy taking that next
step up the ladder!
Good luck! & Good Fishin'!
the Fishin' Professor!